Tag Archives: far from you

Things in Print Thursday :: monthly big queer book review [Far From You]

30 Mar

This novel, by Tess Sharpe, is about a young bisexual girl, Sophie, and it actually says the b-word. This is the most remarkable thing about this book, honestly. The narrator says “I’m bisexual” and not just in her own internal monologue. Another thing I appreciated – and this is not to say that it’s not entirely valid when a bisexual character, in the present tense of a narrative, is attracted to both men and women, because it is legitimate – is that although the narrator is in fact bisexual her present tense attraction, the only attraction she says has ever meant anything, is toward a girl, her recently dead best friend Mina.

Because here’s the thing. It’s important to acknowledge that someone can in fact be bisexual, self-proclaimed and genuinely attracted to “both” (assuming the gender binary, which is false, but Sophie does say she’s attracted to both boys and girls, so in her case that’s the bisexual that applies), but can either prefer one or the other or have a more serious connection with one or the other. Sophie mentions past hookups with boys, but she says out loud that it’s always been Mina that she loves, and though Mina is dead by the time the book starts this doesn’t change. Her bisexuality doesn’t mean that she’s susceptible to the obvious male option for a counterpart. It’s not a way of saying “I loved a girl in the past, but now I’ll replace her with a guy because lol I’m bisexual and I want everyone.” She doesn’t want everyone. She merely acknowledges the possibility of wanting more than one gender of someone.

The end of the book leaves it open: she could eventually fall in love again, with a boy or a girl, but not with any of the boys or girls that have previously been presented. Her options are open, not filled in an easy way. I feel like that doesn’t always happen, and it was nice.

The actual content of the book, aside from the sexuality (not crisis, but conflict of sorts), deals mainly with two things: Sophie recounting the aftermath of a car accident she was in years before that not only permanently injured but set her up for an addiction to painkillers that she ultimately had to kick, and Sophie recounting the aftermath of Mina’s murder and her own involvement, how the former things affected the situation, and how she set out to solve the crime. Drift partner warned me that the twist ending of the book might be a little obvious, but it’s not so much about the mystery as it is about the journey to get there, I don’t think. (I was also oblivious to the clues that would make it obvious because there were a good three or four characters I kept forgetting about and then having to remember which one they were.)

Anyway. There’s sexuality stuff, there’s physical disability stuff which is always interesting to me because of my own long-past traumatic experiences (and also because the disability here was similar to Lily’s from last month’s read, As I Descended, though Lily took the exact opposite view of painkillers), there’s addiction stuff, there’s mystery stuff. It’s an interesting read, although not exactly standout in any particular way.

–your fangirl heroine.